Americana | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

A Huge Tribute to Made in U.S.A.

May 25th, 2012 | Categories: Americana, Japan, Made in the USA, Magazines | by Michael Williams

Just getting around to this, but it sort of is the perfect weekend for this type of thing. This past month the Japanese magazine Huge published an issue centered around all things American. The topic was approached in a uniquely Japanese way, which is to say it was comprehensive and something that seemed much closer in structure to a catalog than a magazine. Huge made in USA was very obviously based on the 1970s magazine Made in U.S.A. (pictured below), which was a watershed moment for many American brands in Japan. The copy below (Made in U.S.A-2) was a gift from a colleague in Tokyo who I work with on Red Wing. According to him, this magazine (which currently fetch about $250 per issue) is what really put the Red Wing Shoe Company on the map in Japan. Made in U.S.A.-2 is for me a prized possession and a constant source of inspiration.

Huge covers a lot of familiar ground by including folks like Wood&Faulk, Dehen, Stanley & Sons, Archival Clothing and a host of other American manufacturers. There are also some surprises and new finds along the way. If you live anywhere near a Kinokuniya you can still get your very own copy of Huge (June). If you are looking for a copy of Made in U.S.A.-2 best to search on Yahoo Japan auctions and hope the seller ships to the good old USA.





Aaron Draplin | The Inspiration Behind Field Notes

May 14th, 2012 | Categories: Americana, Video | by Michael Williams

badass |ˈbadˌas| informal |ORIGIN 1950s: from the adjective bad + ass. 

adjective: formidable; excellent: this is one badass memo pad.

Aaron Draplin.

Not only is Draplin an ACL Hero and American Icon, he’s also half of the wildly popular “pocket material” empire Field Notes. In a follow-up to Draplin’s other famous videos (what’s the status of that documentary?), the native Michigander spends some time “talkin corn” and showing off some of the farmers promotional memo books that served to spur the creation of Field Notes. The more video of Draplin I see, the more he continues to inspire and entertain. Respect must be paid to him for sticking to what he loves and for making great stuff.





Wants & Desires | Chris Craft Barrel Back

Apr 23rd, 2012 | Categories: Americana, Wants & Desires | by Michael Williams

The Chris Craft boats of the early 1940s could be the best looking pieces of American design ever. Well, that’s my feeling anyway. Imagine spending a sunny summer day on a lake in the upper Midwest cruising around in a beautiful wooden 1941 Chris Craft Barrel Back. What could possibly be more fun?

The lines and shape of the wood and chrome on the pre-WWII Barrel Backs are so incredibly good looking, I could imagine it would be tough to nominate something more quintessentially Americana. Note specifically the half moon styled stern on those bad boys, it is something truly magical.





Eggleston at Auction

Mar 16th, 2012 | Categories: Americana, Art, Photography | by Michael Williams

A little while back I went to the preview for an auction of William Eggleston prints at Christie’s, a sale that was arranged to benefit the Eggleston Artistic Trust. It was a particu;arly interesting event for me for a few different reasons. First because I absolutely love Eggleston’s photography (and the man is one of my favorite living artists), and also because the auction consisted of large format digital pigment prints, a rare departure from the dye-transfer prints that helped solidify him as one of American’s greatest photographers.





Ohio Grit

Oct 22nd, 2011 | Categories: Americana, Ohio, Photography | by Michael Williams

Las Vegas in Kodachrome c.1962

Oct 17th, 2011 | Categories: Americana, Video | by Michael Williams

The guys at Devour just posted this great video of what I’m guessing is 16mm Kodachrome home movies from a group of Chicago Police officers and their wives while they visit Las Vegas in the early 1960s. The opening sequence takes place in a bus with long curved plexiglass windows (which makes for easy viewing of the Nevada / Arizona country) and is perfectly clear and in focus — incredible stuff. The quality of these home movies are pretty astonishing when you consider the era and equipment. Brings to mind the footage of VJ Day that we posted back this past August and the amazing Malibu home videos from 1965. Really interesting to see what Vegas was like in those days and how it has changed.





The Enterprising Mr. Bean, 1941

Oct 7th, 2011 | Categories: Americana, History, Jared Paul Stern | by Jared Paul Stern

“More heady than love, ladies or liquor is the sporting-goods catalog of L. L. Bean, outfitter extraordinary to men who live so they may hunt and fish,” read Life magazine’s encomium to the entrepreneurial outdoorsman in October of 1941. From modest beginnings in 1911, sales at Leon Leonwood Bean’s Freeport mail order business had surpassed the $1 million mark by 1937. Life showcased a number of innovative items from the Bean catalog, beginning with the famous Maine Hunting Shoe, created when Bean had a seamstress sew elk hide leggings onto a pair of old rubbers to keep his feet warm and dry while duck hunting.